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Long Beach Port Increases Incentives for Carriers to Use Greener Ships

incentives for cleaner ships
Carriers earn financial rewards for sending cleaner ship to the port (Port of Long Beach)

Published May 27, 2021 6:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

With California preparing for the introduction of stricter environmental regulations for ships in port and an increased focus on the port’s role in improving air quality and the environment, the Port of Long Beach is increasing efforts to reward ocean carriers for deploying cleaner ships to the port. Expanding on an existing port program, ocean carriers earn financial incentives for bringing greener ships to the Port of Long Beach.

“Our goal is to increase participation in the already successful Green Ship Program by aligning it with international sustainable maritime transportation efforts,” said Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “These incentives are the largest offered to vessels and Tier III ships of any seaport, and we expect the update will have positive impacts in Long Beach and around the globe.”

According to the port authority, its Green Ship Incentive Program which began in 2012 has helped improve air quality, by encouraging shipping lines to send their newest, cleanest oceangoing vessels to the Port of Long Beach. In 2020, carriers received more than $1.7 million in incentives under the program.

To further enhance the program, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners earlier this month approved changes centered around incorporating the international Environmental Ship Index (ESI) into the Green Ship Incentive Program. A voluntary system, the ESI identifies seagoing ships exceeding the IMO’s current emission standards. More than 50 ports and more than 8,000 vessels currently participate in the ESI program.

The updated program which begins on July 1, 2021, includes three incentive levels ranging from $600 to $6,000, depending on a vessel’s ESI score. Vessels with main engines meeting IMO’s Tier III standard, which requires dedicated NOx emission control technologies, are eligible for an additional $3,000 credit, meaning a vessel could be eligible for up to $9,000 on every call.

“This change and offer of financial rewards give operators even more reasons to be socially responsible and make investments in cleaner fuels, ship modifications, or onboard technologies that improve air quality beyond required standards,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.

In August 2020, the California Air Resources Board approved a new regulation designed to further reduce pollution from ocean going vessels while docked at California’s busiest ports. Due to start phasing in at the beginning of 2023, the regulations cover nearly all types of ships docked at the state’s ports.